The third annual NCAA Division III Week, coming up April 7-13, takes on more meaning this year as member schools and conferences also are celebrating Division III’s 40th anniversary year.
It’s an opportunity to publicly celebrate and promote the ways in which Division III members have provided a well-rounded collegiate experience not only for approximately 180,000 student-athletes currently playing sports in the NCAA’s largest division, but for the hundreds of thousands of their predecessors who have competed since Division III was formed and hosted its first championships during 1973-74.
Every Division III member institution and conference again is being asked to schedule and publicize at least one event during the week as part of the nationwide celebration. As during previous Division III Week celebrations, the emphasis will be on the academic, athletic, and co- and extra-curricular activities and achievements of student-athletes.
All are being asked to schedule events from three categories of activities:
- Academic accomplishment, including activities such as hosting an event to acknowledge student-athlete academic achievement, or asking teams to select a faculty member to serve as a guest coach for a practice or competition.
- Athletics achievement, including conducting events such as a youth sports clinic or competition, or recognizing school teams’ or individuals’ athletics accomplishments during a game.
- Community or campus outreach, including participating in an event involving a local chapter of Special Olympics as part of Division III’s partnership with that organization, or scheduling a community-service activity.
Many more ideas for activities are featured in the 2014 Division III Week Communications Kit, which is now available along with other resources accessible here for supporting schools’ and conferences’ celebrations.
Although the celebration officially begins Monday, April 7, Division III also is encouraging scheduling of events in conjunction with National STUDENT-Athlete Day on April 6.
The division’s yearlong 40th anniversary celebration, which began last August, also can be incorporated into Division III Week.
“Division III has 40 percent of the NCAA’s student-athletes, and 40 percent of its member schools, so the number ‘40’ is significant for us in many ways this year – and we hope the membership can take advantage of Division III Week as an opportunity to celebrate 40 years of a unique student-athlete experience,” said Jack Copeland, Division III identity initiative consultant.
“So far this year, we’ve celebrated our four decades of history at Division III championships and at the NCAA Convention, but this is the best opportunity for our membership to bring the 40th anniversary to their own campuses, and make it part of our annual celebration of student-athletes.”
Schools and conferences might consider involving student-athletes who have graduated during the past 40 years in Division III Week events, or creating feature stories or videos similar to Division III’s 40-in-40 series, which has profiled prominent graduates who exemplify the division’s attributes of proportion, comprehensive learning, passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship.
Whatever ways the membership chooses to celebrate Division III Week, it is encouraged to report its plans by April 1 to the NCAA national office. Schools and conferences can report their activities either through the firstname.lastname@example.org email address, or through an online reporting form.
“As before, we hope to take these reports and communicate the various ways in which Division III institutions are celebrating the week,” Copeland said. “We anticipate seeing a wide range of activities that demonstrate the combination of attributes that make Division III unique as an intercollegiate athletics experience.”
Division III Week is part of the division’s identity initiative, which was introduced in 2010 to provide an assortment of tools and programs for use in sharpening the division’s identity, and to enable schools and conferences to promote their membership in Division III to constituencies ranging from prospective student-athletes to the local community.